Today we celebrate what I'm calling Dependence Day for Gardeners, and here's why...
Gardeners are a passionate lot.
They are some of the best people I know.
Maybe it's because gardening requires so much patience, hope, and love - characteristics of good people.
And although gardeners enjoy puttering about in their gardens, what they REALLY love is to share their passion for and experience of gardening with others.
If you're new to gardening, and many folks are thanks to the pandemic, you will likely be happily helped by other gardeners.
Simply put, gardeners need other gardeners.
When I was a new gardener, I remember eagerly seeking out other gardeners for advice.
This is no quick process:
- First, you ask a question.
- Then that question leads to cross-examination by your fellow gardener.
- Thanks to smartphones, pictures may be shared along with promises to follow-up.
- If you get lucky, you might even find yourself on a quick tour of a garden.
- Often, what I thought would be a quick exchange of ideas, turned into something far greater: friendship, membership, or a new job.
My point is that everything about gardening is one hundred percent relational... between other gardeners and us, and between us and our gardens.
When we garden, we are surrounded by life - from the microbes in the soil to the birds in the sky.
The garden is a gift.
It is a place to find connection, and I never feel less alone than when I'm in my garden.
There will be times when you will hear or read that gardening is a solitary activity.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
To me, that's like saying a prayer is a solitary activity.
In many ways, gardening is prayer.
Christian Amanpour recently interviewed psychiatrist Sue Stuart-Smith (the author of "The Well-Gardened Mind"), and Los Angeles gardener Ron Finley (a.k.a. "the Gangsta Gardener").
The interview took place as the world was first locking down in response to COVID-19.
The topic of the interview was the healing, grounding, and restorative power of gardening.
Sue and Ron both recognize that gardening not only sustains us physically through exercise and food but also supports our emotional and mental wellbeing.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it's how much we depend on each other.
I've had the pleasure of helping new gardeners and of seeing the wonder of gardening through their eyes.
I put out a plea for rhubarb on Next Door, and as per usual, I not only received two clumps of rhubarb, but... a new friend, info on a local garden center, and an invitation to join a new garden club. (Thanks Sue!)
As for my garden, I've enjoyed another spring planting favorite herbs and a kitchen garden here at the cabin - a place I have never gardened.
My cabin garden grows beside some trees that were part of an old-growth pine forest.
When I'm outside, I delight in the company of countless dragonflies and birds.
The ducks and geese parade along the shoreline in the backyard every evening, and there is a little loon family that I especially enjoy.
Gardening in the shadow of so much nature has flipped my script...
Before the pandemic, I'd often comment on how much my garden needed me - the weeding, the planting, the feeding, the pruning, the dreaming, etc.
Today, I can only think about how much we need gardening... for the restoration, the grounding, the nourishment, and the fortification.
That's why today, we should be honoring our Dependence Day - on the planet, on the land, and yes, on our gardens.